A CIVIL servant with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority who viewed child abuse videos to de-stress was spared jail yesterday.

Craig Burke, 37, was found with eleven "very graphic" videos of children when police raided his home last year.

Police Scotland's cyber crime unit had previously received intelligence that an internet connection at the property in Killearn had been used to access the illegal material.

Officers executing a search warrant raided the address -- where unmarried Burke lives with his parents -- at 6.55am.

Burke, part of whose job involved interviewing victims of child abuse to determine how much compensation they should get, answered the door.

Prosecutor Adrian Fraser told Stirling Sheriff Court: "He opened the door and told the police he knew why they were there."

He showed them a laptop in his bedroom, which was examined and the illicit videos, together with some still pictures, were found on it.

Mr Fraser added: "The videos were very graphic."

Burke, of Wellgreen, Killearn, pleaded guilty to possessing and downloading the material.

David Fitzpatrick, defending, said Burke was a loner who had difficulty "coping".

He added that he had been immediately signed off work with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and had not worked there since.

Mr Fitzpatrick said Burke had "a high IQ" and had been highly successful academically before joining the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

But he said he was "isolated" and the only one of his parents' three children to be left living with them as an adult.

The lawyer said: "He is disgusted by his behaviour. He accepts that viewing material like this can increase demand for it, and therefore cause further abuse down the line.

"He has past experience with his job with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority of speaking to people who have suffered childhood sexual abuse, and he does have empathy with them.

"He has been signed off with stress. He has issues coping with difficulties in his life.

"He uses child pornography as a coping mechanism to avoid self-harm and to escape from the difficulties of everyday life.

"When stress is exacerbated, the sort of material he accesses does get more extreme."

Social background reports on Burke said there was a low risk of him graduating from watching child abuse images to committing "contact" offences against children, but warned that he had told social workers he was "attracted" to young schoolchildren.

The court heard that Burke had continued to use porn "as a coping mechanism" even after the commencement of the court case against him.

Mr Fitzpatrick told the court: "He was concerned about what will happen and this has led to him turning again to pornography and purchasing magazines."

Sheriff Wyllie Robertson made Burke subject to a three-year community payback order, during which time he will have to take part in the "Making Changes, Moving Forward" sex offender treatment programme.

He was also banned, for the same period, from having contact with anyone under 17 with the permission of his supervising officer, and ordered that any equipment he uses to access the internet must be fitted with a programme that will check what he has been accessing.

He is also banned from using any "file wiping" software.

Sheriff Robertson told him he had pleaded guilty to a serious offence, but he could be spared a custodial sentence because he was a first offender and as the numbers of videos and images he had downloaded were low.

He told Burke he was satisfied that his case was one where importance should be placed on treating "the problem that you have".

But he told him: "This cannot be condoned."